Smith Meadows Kitchen has had the pleasure of employing many dedicated people. Each week Patty Childs makes our dough, cuts our noodles, fills our empanadas & ravioli, and bakes the chicken for our chicken salad. Kate Westlund and Lynsi Pasutti make empanada fillings and dough, fill our ravioli, cook our sauces and make our pesto. Linda McCarty makes our ham biscuits and chicken sandwiches. Staff that has moved on have left a legacy of recipes developed during their time here. Every 3-4 weeks we make Alexis Akre’s Ginger Pork Ravioli, and in the fall we will be making Fern Cone’s ricotta bakes. Thankfully all of these wonderful people are eager to be part of the delicious food we produce. When our kitchen requires a shift because of what is in season, they easily make a change in their schedule to make it all come together each week. It’s hard to imagine how I started this business by myself without such capable associates.
As many people involved with sustainable food know, our greatest asset is a labor force committed to producing high quality food from ingredients produced in a conscientious manner. It is challenging to find these people. Half of my staff lives locally and commutes to the farm, while the other half is my two apprentices from far away. In October 2010, Lynsi and Kate will be returning to their respective homes in Iowa and Colorado. It has been my pleasure to host them on the farm, as well as employ them in my kitchen. They are enthusiastic, intelligent and capable women who will go on to succeed in any career that they choose. I am proud to have given them an opportunity to learn about a niche industry like ours.
Thankfully, when they leave in October, I will still have my dedicated local staff of two, Patty Childs and Linda McCarty. They are the backbone of our kitchen, but I will have to replace my two apprentices. Because the training involved in the kitchen is fairly specialized, we hope to start training a replacement in September. The tasks at Smith Meadows Kitchen are not easily transferred from year to year with apprentices, so I have decided to hunt for more local people willing to commute to the farm each day to produce delicious food. In addition to weekly production, this person will be assisting with our cooking classes that start this fall.
I am eager to reach out to more people in the community by providing employment. Each year there is a greater appreciation for our farms in Clarke County. Although we do not have the extra staff to attend the Berryville farmers market, it continues to grow each year. Many buying clubs for local produce and other farm raised products have started in the area. Each season we get more and more customers who shop at our on farm store. I would like to see our community dedicated to sustainable food grow every year.
If you do live locally and are interested in applying for a position with Smith Meadows, send me an email through our website. I look forward to meeting more people in Clarke and Loudoun Counties who want to dedicate themselves to sustainable food.